Improvements to be made to Wilton’s online tax collection

Wilton taxpayers will soon have more options when it comes to paying their local taxes online.

In an effort to improve the tax collection process for taxpayers and the town, the Board of Selectmen voted to approve a new system, Invoice Cloud, to handle its online tax collection service.

Chief financial officer Anne Kelly-Lenz reviewed Invoice Cloud with the board at a special meeting on Oct. 22. “We’re implementing a lot of changes,” she said.

While taxpayers may currently pay their town taxes online on the town’s website, the system isn’t the most efficient, Kelly-Lenz told the selectmen.

The new system, Invoice Cloud, will be used by the tax collector’s office. It provides secure e-billing, payment, and software systems and is expected to be more consumer-friendly for taxpayers to use, Kelly-Lenz explained.

A significant benefit will be the ability for people to pay taxes up until midnight (11:59 p.m.) on the last day taxes are due. Currently, the online tax payment cutoff time is 8 p.m. “It’s better for people if they have until midnight to pay their taxes,” she said.

There have also been administrative issues with online tax payments that were made on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, which the tax collector received grouped together the following Monday. “There is a lot of sorting to do in order to calculate when payments were made. This program will solve a lot of those problems and give taxpayers a better service,” Kelly-Lenz said.

Taxpayers will also have the option to pay their bills from their phones or computers, using credit or debit cards. They can sign up by text or email to be notified when taxes are due, and receive notification when their taxes have been paid. The credit card fee for tax payments is about $2.95, similar to what it is now, she said.

Invoice Cloud will also be a benefit for the town’s tax collections, Kelly-Lenz said. Described as an electronic “lockbox,” tax payments will be received and processed daily. After the checks are cashed by the bank, the tax collector’s office will get the money the next morning and an upload file, which will allow the office to process the payments within five minutes, rather than taking all day, which it currently does, she said. The system will also handle delinquencies.

“This process will be more efficient. We have been getting calls at the end of the month from people who were wondering whether their checks had been cashed. Invoice Cloud program will resolve these issues,” she said.

Webster Bank, which has a relationship with the town’s tax collection system, Quality QDS, will continue to receive the tax payments.

However, Webster Bank also handles the town’s online payment system, and that portion of Webster’s role will be replaced by Invoice Cloud. “Webster is getting out of the business of handling online tax payments,” Kelly-Lenz explained.

She said taxpayers will not see changes on the town’s website for making tax payments. “It’s all behind the scenes. Invoice Cloud is working with Quality QDS,” she said.

At this time, the Invoice Cloud service is just for the tax office, but once it is up and running, Kelly-Lenz said, the service will be considered for other departments, including the Board of Education.

“Once we get the tax collection system down, and we have a good knowledge base behind us, I will look at what it can do for permits and other things in order to give people the ability to pay online,” she said.